Saturday, March 16, 2013

White v. Corlies & Tift case brief

White v. Corlies & Tift case brief summary
46 N.Y. 467

SYNOPSIS: Defendant appealed a decision of the General Term of the First Judicial District (New York) which affirmed a judgment for the plaintiff in a contract dispute.

-Defendant sent an offer for carpentry work to plaintiff, and plaintiff purchased the necessary materials and started working on them, but did not communicate his acceptance to the defendant. -Defendant withdrew his offer the next day, and plaintiff brought suit.

The court reversed the judgment for the plaintiff, holding that while there can be an acceptance without the offeror being aware of it, the acceptance must be manifested by an appropriate act, and plaintiffs purchase of the materials and working on them, even if he had mentally accepted the offer, were not such as to manifest acceptance to defendant.

Where an offer is made by one party to another when they are not together, the acceptance of it by that other must be manifested by some appropriate act. It does not need that the acceptance shall come to the knowledge of the one making the offer before he shall be bound. But though the manifestation need not be brought to his knowledge before he becomes bound, he is not bound, if that manifestation is not put in a proper way to be in the usual course of events, in some reasonable time communicated to him. Thus a letter received by mail containing a proposal, may be answered by letter by mail, containing the acceptance. And in general, as soon as the answering letter is mailed, the contract is concluded.

OUTCOME: Judgment for the plaintiff reversed and remanded for a new trial because the evidence did not show plaintiff effectively accepted the defendant's offer for a contract.

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